Concerns over climate and nature are higher than the national average in the Blue Wall and scores of marginal seats, a major new survey of 20,000 people shows.
This leaves the Conservatives in danger of losing seats in key battlegrounds if the party fails to strengthen its climate commitments and continues to row back on policies needed to tackle the crisis, according to Greenpeace UK.
The detailed, constituency level polling of people across Great Britain by Survation, which factors in the new boundaries for the next General Election, shows strong support for climate and environmental policies. Of those who had an opinion, more than two thirds (70%) stated that climate and environment policies are important and will influence how they vote in the next election.
However, the results are even higher for voters in the Blue Wall – where the Conservatives are currently predicted to hold just 29 out of 52 seats – and the most marginal constituencies, with overwhelming support for almost all specific climate policies, and almost three in four of these constituents (72% and 71%, respectively) stating that those policies will influence how they vote.
Greenpeace UK’s climate campaigner, Georgia Whitaker, said, “Voters in the most hotly contested seats are saying that climate change matters to them, and they want bold policies to tackle it.
“But in a desperate attempt to play politics with the climate, Sunak risks haemorrhaging his party’s support in Tory strongholds and key marginals.
“This endless flip-flopping on such vital issues will not only leave people with higher bills and a damaged economy, but it could badly backfire against Sunak’s party at the next election unless the government changes tack.”
The news comes as Greenpeace announces the launch of Project Climate Vote, a nationwide mass door-knocking programme, which aims to recruit at least one million Climate Voters and force UK political parties to strengthen their plans to tackle the climate, nature and cost of living crises right now, at the next election and in the years that follow.
The door-knocking campaign will see thousands of people holding conversations about climate on the doorstep, over the phone and on social media, with a focus on dozens of key marginal seats – including in the Blue Wall – from now.
28 high-profile celebrities, including Stephen Fry, Olivia Colman, Mel B, Will Poulter and Joe Lycett have all backed the campaign. They have also signed an open letter addressed to all political leaders, alongside over 100,000 others, demanding stronger action on climate, stating that “we will judge you at the next election”.
The letter warns that “our country is broken,” thanks to “the failure of successive governments” but that unlocking climate solutions will help tackle other crises by lowering energy bills, cutting air pollution and boosting the economy.
Actor Peter Capaldi, who is backing the Greenpeace UK campaign, said, “It can feel overwhelming when you look at all the crises we are facing, like the cost of living, extreme weather, and pollution choking our rivers and seas. But none of this is inevitable and, although we’re clearly already suffering the effects of extreme weather, there’s still time to change direction.
“I stand with people all over the country who are demanding climate action for our NHS, our economy and our planet. A safer, healthier future for all is within our grasp if politicians can be bold and brave enough to deliver it. It’s up to us to demand that our political leaders listen, and deliver on what the country and our children deserve.”
The results of the new polling also reveal that in Blue Wall and marginal battlegrounds, more than four in five (85% in the Blue Wall, 86% in the most marginal seats) of constituents who had an opinion want the government to provide more financial support to insulate homes and almost four in five (73% for both) want more government funding for heat pumps.
They also want to see more government investment for renewable power (88% and 87%) and subsidised rail travel to ensure it is always cheaper than driving (79% for both).
Four in five (80%) residents in the Blue Wall support the idea of a wealth tax on the richest 1% of people to fund action on climate change, and almost nine in 10 (87%) want to see a loophole-free windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies. Support for these taxes gets even more support in marginal constituencies where 82% of those who had an opinion want to see a wealth tax and 88% support a loop-hole free windfall tax on oil and gas giants.
In the 12 constituencies identified as potential bellwether or indicative seats by Greenpeace’s political analysts – which include Stevenage, Chingford and Woodford Green and East Thanet (currently the seat of Craig Mackinlay, one of a vocal minority of Conservative MPs lobbying for Sunak to water down climate policies) – overall support for almost all climate and nature policies, as well as climate concern and demand for more political action on climate and the environment, was even higher than in the Blue Wall and key marginal constituencies.
Whitaker added, “The next general election is a key moment to ensure the next government listens to voters’ concerns on the climate.
“This is why we’re rolling out a nationwide mass door-knocking programme to recruit at least one million Climate Voters. For too long politicians have served the interests of the elite, making fossil fuel giants and water companies ever richer at the expense of ordinary people and the planet.
“This polling proves that a majority of people in this country want more climate action, not less, so we’re not going to allow self-serving politicians to split the public and turn these vital issues into a political football. A climate majority already exists, and in the next election they will be a political force that all parties will have to reckon with.”
“This widespread support for key climate policies gives weight to a suite of policy recommendations set out today by Greenpeace UK, which the campaign group will be testing all political parties’ manifestos against in the run up to the election.”